Barkly Highway

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesThree Ways Roadhouse
DifficultyDifficulty 1/5
Suitable for4WD AWD 2WD Caravan Camper Motorhome Bike 
Distance755.49 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed83.74 km/hr
Driving Time9 hrs 1 min
Page Updated: 14 Mar 2017


The Barkly Highway, now also promoted as part of the Overlander's Way, is a sealed road connecting the states of Qld & NT. The road connects the Three Ways Roadhouse in the Northern Territory to the township of Cloncurry in Queensland.

The Barkly Highway forms the main transport route between Queensland and the Northern Territory, and consequently it is heavily used by road trains and tourists.

How to Use this Trek Note

Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places on each POI page.

If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
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  • You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
  • If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
  • If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.


Between Cloncurry to Mount Isa, the Barkly Highway winds through the spectacular Swelwyn Ranges. Around Camooweal you'll see wide expanses of Mitchell grass plains and spinifex woodland. Closer to Tennant Creek, the Barkly Tablelands are an enormous expanse of cattle stations and scrubby grasslands. These habitats do not support a great variety of wildlife with just a brushtail possum, the antechinus, and dunnart being the few mammals known to exist in small isolated pockets.

There are many grasslands birds however, such as bronzewing, night parrots, and seasonal wetlands birds may occasionally be seen during periods of flooding.

Snakes, reptiles and amphibians can adapt to the clay soils between the wet summer season to the dry winter season.


In 1861, William Landsborough explored the western regions of Queensland and named a wide section of scrubby grasslands to the north-east of Tennant Creek after Sir Henry Barkly, the then Governor of Victoria.

The route of today's Barkly Highway follows a stock route that was formerly used by drovers to herd their cattle through the Tablelands. It was put to use during wartime as a defence road and bitumen surfacing works commenced in 1943. The highway was named and registered in 1947.

An upgrade of the Queensland section of the highway between Mount Isa and Camooweal was completed in 2008.


The North West Outback Queensland Tourism Association recommend that travellers prepare alternative routes, especially during the Australian summer (Nov – Apr) when rain and storms can impede travel plans.

Be prepared to lose mobile phone coverage when travelling outside town boundaries. Most towns will have Telstra and Optus coverage for about a 20km radius around the town.

Be patient of stock and wary of kangaroos and emus, especially if driving near sunrise or sunset.


No permit required.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolThree Ways Roadhouse.
4cyl 106 litres4cyl 122 litres4cyl 151 litres
6cyl 116 litres6cyl 137 litres6cyl 133 litres
8cyl 116 litres8cyl 125 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Travelling throughout Northern Australia in the dry cooler months from April to
October is very pleasant. Days are temperate and the nights cool. Summer is the wet season with higher temperatures and the chance of minor localised flooding.

Closest Climatic Station

Camooweal Township
Distance from Trek Mid Point 83.08km E
Mean Max. °C37.336.
Mean Min. °C24.323.721.718.
Mean Rain mm99.193.254.914.411.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Service points along this route are found at Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Camooweal, Barkly Roadhouse, and Three Ways Roadhouse.


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What to See

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This is just a selection. We recommend also browsing the map for other Places nearby.
Points of interest in between towns are limited to what you can find at roadside rest areas.

Mt Isa has many attractions and is outback Queensland's only city and is worth spending considerable time there to explore.

Camooweal Caves National Park features honeycombed sink holes.

Showing 1 Places

Where to Stay

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This is just a selection. We recommend also browsing the map for other Places nearby.
The route consists of numerous free roadside rest areas suitable for caravanners however it is difficult to escape the road noise.

Commercial caravan parks and camp grounds are located at each of the towns along the route and at Barkly Roadhouse.

Showing 17 Places


LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Three Ways Roadhouse to Waypoint22.04 kmE89° 15 min
Waypoint to 41 Mile Bore48.78 kmE75° 35 min
41 Mile Bore to Frewena Rest Area61.22 kmE102° 44 min
Frewena Rest Area to Barkly Homestead54.78 kmSE125° 39 min
Barkly Homestead to Barkly Hwy & Murray Downs Rd10.94 kmSE127° 7 min
Barkly Hwy & Murray Downs Rd to Wunara Store83.69 kmE108° 1 hr
Wunara Store to Soudan Rest Area30.62 kmE111° 22 min
Soudan Rest Area to Soudan14.88 kmE81° 10 min
Soudan to Barkly Hwy & Ranken Rd20.73 kmE75° 15 min
Barkly Hwy & Ranken Rd to Avon Downs Rest Area29.64 kmE94° 21 min
Avon Downs Rest Area to Barkly Highway, NT-QLD Border56.07 kmE77° 40 min
Barkly Highway, NT-QLD Border to Camooweal13.11 kmE93° 9 min
Camooweal to Inca Creek Rest Area70.27 kmE104° 50 min
Inca Creek Rest Area to David Hall Rest Area20.51 kmSE134° 14 min
David Hall Rest Area to WW2 Airfield44.91 kmSE118° 32 min
WW2 Airfield to Hilton35.69 kmSE134° 25 min
Hilton to Outback at Isa Complex18.57 kmS176° 13 min
Outback at Isa Complex to Lake Julius Turnoff Rest Area17.01 kmE81° N/A
Lake Julius Turnoff Rest Area to Mary Kathleen Rest Area31.75 kmE101° 21 min
Mary Kathleen Rest Area to Fountain Springs Rest Area9.4 kmSE128° 6 min
Fountain Springs Rest Area to Clem Walton Park and Corella Dam6.66 kmSE118° 4 min
Clem Walton Park and Corella Dam to Corella River8.82 kmNE53° 6 min
Corella River to Cloncurry45.41 kmE79° 31 min
Three Ways Roadhouse to Cloncurry755.49 km  9 hr 1 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.


Nearby ExplorOz Treks

Travel Journals

The following are links to Members' Blogs that contain the words Barkly Highway. Creating Blogs is restricted to Members only. Not a Member? Join here.

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